Certain legume crops, including white lupin (Lupinus albus L.), mobilise soil-bound phosphorus (P) through root exudates. The changes in the rhizosphere enhance P availability to these crops, and possibly to subsequent crops growing in the same soil. We conducted a pot experiment to compare phosphorus acquisition of three legume species with that of wheat, and to determine whether the legume crops influence growth and P uptake of a subsequent wheat crop. Field pea (Pisum sativum L.), faba bean (Vicia faba L.), white lupin (Lupinus albus L.) and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) were grown in three different soils to which we added no or 20 mg P kg<sup>−1</sup> soil (P0, P20). Growth, P content and rhizosphere carboxylates varied significantly amongst crops, soils and P levels. Total P content of the plants was increased with applied phosphorus. Phosphorus content of faba bean was 3.9 and 8.8 mg/pot, at P0 and P20, respectively, which was about double that of all other species at the respective P levels. Field pea and white lupin had large amounts of rhizosphere carboxylates, whereas wheat and faba bean had negligible amounts in all three soils at both P levels. Wheat grew better after legumes than after wheat in all three soils. The effect of the previous plant species was greater when these previous species had received P fertiliser. All the legumes increased plant biomass of subsequent wheat significantly over the unplanted pots in all the soils. Faba bean was unparalleled in promoting subsequent wheat growth on all fertilised soils. This experiment clearly demonstrated a residual benefit of the legume crops on the growth of the subsequent wheat crop due to enhanced P uptake. Faba bean appeared to be a suitable P-mobilising legume crop plant for use in rotations with wheat.
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Nuruzzaman, M., Lambers, H., Bolland, M.D. et al. Phosphorus benefits of different legume crops to subsequent wheat grown in different soils of Western Australia. Plant Soil 271, 175–187 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-004-2386-6